£45,000 recovered for negligent spinal surgery

Our client, a 46 year old man from Ramsgate, Kent, was under the care of the London Clinic for a bulging disc in his lumbar spine and was awaiting a planned surgical discectomy and laminectomy operation with his surgeon.

However, before that surgery could take place, his condition deteriorated substantially, such that he required an emergency operation under the care of a different surgeon (his surgeon being out of the country).

Unfortunately, during the course of this surgery, a dorsal dural tear occurred. Although this is a recognised complication of this type of surgery, the surgeon, despite identifying the dural tear, failed to repair it, and also failed to notify our client that the injury had occurred.

As such, our client was discharged home suffering with severe headaches and nausea. His condition failed to improve, and he was admitted back to the London Clinic for further treatment. A blood patch was unsuccessful as the dural tear was too large, and our client therefore required a revision operation to repair the damage caused during the original operation.

Post-operatively, our client suffered with some residual physical symptoms (though these were only in part caused by the negligence), and was also diagnosed with an Adjustment Disorder requiring psychotherapy treatment.

The Defendant refused to make any formal admission of breach of duty, but made an initial offer of £8,500. It was obvious that the surgery had been performed negligently, and the Defendant’s offer was clearly insufficient. A counter offer of £52,500 was made.

The Defendant improved their offer, initially to £15,500, and when that was rejected, to £45,000. That much improved offer was accepted by our client.

Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the claim, commented:

It is concerning that the Professor of Surgery, having identified a dural tear during the original surgery, failed to repair it and advise the patient. Such disregard for the well-being of a patient cannot be defensible, and the unrealistic stance taken by the Professor’s professional indemnity insurers did nothing to improve matters. I am pleased that the case was ultimately able to be settled at an appropriate level.